Skip to main content
Special Report

Zombie Science

How parasites turn animals into "zombies"--and why we are so fascinated with these creatures

  • October 29, 2012

The American Fascination With Zombies

Ed note: As Halloween rapidly approaches in the US, AiP will be exploring superstitions, beliefs, and the things that go bump in the night. This post originally appeared on AiP on May 17th, 2011, in response to Zombie Awareness Month—oh, it's real all right.

October 26, 2011 — Krystal D'Costa

Fungus Makes Zombie Ants Do All the Work

A tropical fungus has adapted to infect ants and force them to chomp, with surprising specificity, into perfectly located leaves before killing them and taking over their bodies

July 31, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Are Zombie Bees Infiltrating Your Neighborhood?

Update Sept. 11, 2015: ZomBee Watch, a citizen science project, reported on September 1, 2015 that one of its participants, Joseph Naughton, discovered and captured a honey bee parasitized by the zombie fly Apocephalus borealis on his porch in New York.

September 11, 2015 — Katherine Harmon

Your average, everyday zombie

“The purpose of man's to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.” - Ayn Rand Of all the cryptic, creepy and cruel creatures that emerge each Halloween, few captivate our imaginations like the living dead.

October 31, 2011 — Christie Wilcox

Instant Zombie - Just Add Salt.

Those of you who follow me on Google+, facebook or twitter might have seen this neat little video: Yeah, it freaked me out, too.

July 28, 2011 — Christie Wilcox

Master Manipulators of the Micro-World

Parasites are perhaps the greatest master manipulators out there in nature. Even though they are tiny, their numbers are mighty and they have a huge impact on individuals and even entire ecosystems.

December 20, 2011 — Jennifer Verdolin

Protozoa Could Be Controlling Your Brain

Some protozoa infect the brain of their host, shaping its behavior in ways most suited to the pathogen, even if it leads to the suicide of the host

May 1, 2011 — Christof Koch

Zombies Invade Google Campus

She looked perfectly normal. But what was she doing roaming around at night on the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif?She’d been drawn out of her home, following the light, and now was taking mincing steps across a white bed sheet.

August 21, 2012 — Mariette DiChristina

Are Zombies nocturnal?

For Halloween, I thought I'd republish this old post of mine from July 1, 2010. Blame 'Night of the Living Dead' for this, but many people mistakenly think that zombies are nocturnal, going around their business of walking around town with stilted gaits, looking for people whose brains they can eat, only at night.

October 31, 2011 — Bora Zivkovic

Revenge of the Zombifying Wasp

As it is Halloween, I am republishing my old post (from February 04, 2006, reposted on July 1, 2010): Ampulex compressa I was quite surprised that Carl Zimmer, in research for his book Parasite Rex, did not encounter the fascinating case of the Ampulex compressa (Emerald Cockroach Wasp) and its prey/host the American Cockroach ( Periplaneta americana , see also comments on Aetiology and Ocellated).In 1999, I went to Oxford, UK, to the inaugural Gordon Conference in Neuroethology and one of the many exciting speakers I was looking forward to seeing was Fred Libersat.

October 31, 2011 — Bora Zivkovic